Posts Tagged altar

Halt, Thief!

Proverb 6: 31

But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold.

Restitution by a thief is what is being discussed in this passage. When the thief is discovered, he must repay seven times what he stole. There is an interesting connection from the New Testament. Jesus told us that “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy” (John 10: 10). Who is the thief? The devil, of course. He is the enemy of all who love Jesus and he would love to steal everything from you but you have the ability to stop him and even to make him repay seven times what he stole.

I wrote to you last week about how we are increasingly ignoring, or denying the existence of the devil and his minions. When we deny the existence and influence of Satan we begin to blame God for the bad things that happen. I find this tragic. Not only do we allow the devil to get off free when we hide in our denial but we don’t receive the restitution we are due. Worst of all, since we need someone to blame, we blame God. Obviously, these recriminations against God damage our relationship with Him. How can you have a close, trusting and loving relationship with someone you believe is doing you harm? Even if you try to justify the assumption that God is the one who is making bad things happen as His attempt to strengthen you, it will still destroy your relationship with Him.

I was exposed to this dangerous teaching like many of you were. I remember telling my basketball coach, “It’s too hard with God so I am going to have to be without Him.” I turned my back on God because people had me convinced that God was doing all these bad things to me. I sure wish someone had stood apart from the crowd and said, “Hey, that’s the devil who is evil doing those things, not God who is good.” I think I could have taken it from there and realized how foolish and broken my logic was.

I don’t know if people are just afraid of the devil so that is why they deny his existence or if he just has really good Public Relations people. None the less, our continual denial of his existence and his shenanigans is putting God, our beloved, right in the target sights. No one is throwing stones at Satan. They are all casting stones at God, the one who loved us so much that He sent His only child to die a horribly cruel death so that we might be saved. When you state it that way, it really defies logic but that is what so many of us do without really considering.

Look, you don’t have to be afraid of the devil. You’ve got Jesus and his victory. All you have to do is catch the thief. He has to pay back seven times if you will catch him instead of blaming God. God is the one who will make him pay restitution because He is a righteous God. There are any number of weapons Jesus has provided for you, all of them effective. Praise music, reading your Bible out loud to the devil (he loves that), giving money to a ministry (one of my personal favorites), prayer and more. Just remind the devil of the blood of Jesus. Figuratively, bathe your business, ministry or family in the blood. Dedicate everything in your life to Jesus, whatever the devil is torturing you with or messing with, see yourself go put it on Jesus’ altar. Then dare the devil to mess with it. Install Jesus as CEO, but really do it, not merely mouth the words. Let Jesus run your business for a couple of weeks and see if the devil doesn’t take his hands off of it.

Give over leadership of your family to Jesus. He never meant for you to be the leader of your family. That’s how it gets messed up. He wants to be head of the household. As long as you are, the devil is going to get in your stuff. Give it to Jesus. It really is his problem afterall, because he is the shepherd, not you. You are one of the flock.

Whatever area of your life is being challenged. Go put it on the altar and sprinkle Jesus blood on it. Remember, this is how Abraham became the Father of us all, by putting his son on the altar. Releasing control to Jesus is the quickest way (not the easiest mind) to get the devil out of it. Where ever there is the blood of Jesus, the devil will flee. He hates the Word, and he cannot bear even one drop of the blood.

I want you blessed and I am so tired of watching the devil steal from Christians. God has prepared a way for us and has given us all of the tools necessary. Put blame where it is due and make the devil pay; make him pay back seven times what he stole.

God is . . . joyful in righteousness

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 5

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness.

What do you think of when you hear the word unrighteousness? At some level we hear “wrongness” don’t we? Something is not right. One of the definitions of righteousness means essentially that we are in our right place with God. It has to do with where we are in relation to Him. We are righteous in Christ who has placed us in right standing with God. The other use of this word is the one we probably think of more often. It refers to our personal adherence to a code of behavior or laws. When we hear someone is unrighteous we tend to think of them as being wicked. That is going a bit far but certainly one who is wicked is not in their proper place with God and is not following the social mores or laws.

When I hear the word “righteous” I think of Jesus. I have hung my hat on 2 Corinthians 5: 21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Our standing with God is assured. It is not earned. Jesus gave it to us in His sacrifice and it would be repugnant to try to earn it. We are in our right position with God because Jesus bought it with his blood. Of course, our God will not rejoice in our being unrighteous or not in the spot Jesus bought for us. He is not satisfied with us not being in Jesus and standing in the grace Jesus wrought for us. If we do not accept who we are in Christ, the Father cannot rejoice. He can only grieve.

There was an exchange made at that altar of the cross. The sin of the world was laid on the lamb in exchange for the righteousness of God. All of my sin and yours was put on the altar so that we could arise in Christ Jesus in the glory and majesty of His victory and righteousness. Our only task is to intertwine ourselves in the love of Jesus. We put our wrongness on his rightness and his rightness wins every time. The Father is glorified and made joyful when we immerse ourselves in the light of Jesus. He rejoices when we rely upon 2 Corinthians 5: 21 and claim Jesus’ victory bigger than our failures. He is happy when we raise Jesus up above our self-aware shortcomings. We are right in Christ and that is the only way we can ever be righteous. Love rejoices when we abide in love.